Friday, September 18

I have long been an advocate for voting by mail and I agree with the experts that it's the safest way to vote during a pandemic. Earlier this year, I worked with other lawmakers to amend the legislature's coronavirus relief bill to specifically allow a vote by mail election this year. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer ignored the science by choosing to conduct this fall's election as normal with in-person voting as the default way to cast a ballot. I think the Lieutenant Governor made a mistake, especially considering what we now know about how easily the coronavirus is spread.

Thankfully, it's fairly easy to vote by mail in Alaska. The first step is to request your absentee ballot, which can be done online. You can also request an application via email or by calling the Division of Elections at (907) 270-2700.

Our democracy is shaped by votes of the people. Whether you vote by mail or in-person, the most important thing is to vote.

Please be safe,
Voting Deadlines
  • October 4 is the deadline to register to vote.

  • October 24 is the deadline for the Division of Elections to receive absentee ballot applications.

  • November 3 is election day. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Crime in Alaska in 2019
Earlier this week, the 493 page Uniform Crime Reporting Program Annual Report hit my desk. I picked it up with interest because my colleagues and I have put in a lot of work the past couple of years to give law enforcement and the courts the tools they need to stop Alaska's crime wave.

The 2019 crime report shows significant progress. The credit for this decrease in crime should go to the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday to protect the people of Alaska.

However, I don't think it's a coincidence that crime decreased last year in conjunction with the Alaska Legislature's action to repeal the disastrous criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91. As a result, Alaska is now a safer place to live, work, and play.

Report Findings:

  • Alaska's crime rate was down 9.3%.

  • Total number of offenses was down just over 10%.

  • The number of violent crimes was down 2.6%.

  • The number of property crimes was down 12.1%.

  • Motor vehicle theft was at it's lowest level since 2015.

  • The vehicle theft rate decreased by 34.1%.
Do You Need Help With Groceries?
The Municipality of Anchorage has started a new service to help senior citizens safely get groceries.

Seniors and those with disabilities can arrange to have groceries, pet supplies, and essential household items picked up using AnchorRIDES buses.

The new grocery delivery service is free for those age 60 and over. Other eligible AnchorRIDES riders can take advantage of the service for a small fee of either $3.50 or $5.50 depending on where they live.

To participate, customers must be eligible and enrolled in the AnchorRIDES program. To determine eligibility or to enroll, contact the AnchorRIDES Eligibility Office at 907.343.6543, Option #2.

More information is available online at

Participating stores include Carrs, Fred Meyer, Target, Walmart, Petco, Pet Smart, and Pet Zoo.
Keep Both Feet on the Ground

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury to senior citizens? With one wrong step, life can change forever.

  • Falls Data in Alaska: 85% of non-fatal hospitalizations in Alaska's 65+ were due to falls (Alaska Trauma Registry, 2015-2018)
  • The most recent total direct cost of older adult falls in Alaska was $48 million (CDC, 2014)
  • Injuries due to falls are the leading cause of non-fatal hospitalizations in Alaska, age 35+ (Alaska Trauma Registry, 2015-2018)

In order to help prevent falls, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is encouraging those 65 and older to get a "Falls Free Checkup" next week as part of National Falls Prevention Awareness Week.

While some accidents are unavoidable, many others can be prevented. I suggest you check out the Falls Prevention Awareness Week Toolkit from the National Council on Aging. You can also get a "Falls Free CheckUp" to asses your risk of falling. One of the best parts of the free online, interactive tool is that you get a report of the results that can be shared with health care providers and others. Learn more during a video "Falls Free CheckUP Chat" on Facebook next Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.
Low-income families can get up to $458 per child to cover increased food costs.

The deadline to enroll is September 30.

Around 31,000 paper applications have been mailed to eligible families.

Details of the program can be found on the Food Bank of Alaska website.

Submit your application online.